Cardinal Bravo's "contras" were [probably still are]

supported via CIA by the American taxpayer.

And by CIA facilitated sale of cocaine.


From.............. Catholic International

October 1995

page 460

NICARAGUA

With political tension in Nicaragua increasing in the run-up to the November 1996 presidential elections, bitterly divided political factions have agreed that only one individual in the country can help Nicaragua avoid political violence - the archbishop of Managua, Cardinal Miguel Obando y Bravo.

According to the Managua daily, La Prensa, political leaders of both the right and left have recently been meeting with the cardinal, asking him to mediate between the opposing groups.

The mediating skills of Obando y Bravo are well known in the country. Referred to by everyone simply as "the cardinal," the Nicaraguan prelate has successfully participated in resolving the country's main problems in the past decades.

"There is no doubt about it; the cardinal deserves to be called the artisan of reconciliation," wrote Barricada, a daily close to the Sandinista Front.

Indeed, the influence of the cardinal in the past proved to be decisive. In the 70s, he mediated between Anastacio Somoza's dictatorship and the Sandinistas. Shortly thereafter, he intervened in the conflict between the Sandinistas and the Contras. He also assisted in negotiations between Violeta Chamorro's government and the former Contras.

Recently, he once again played a key role in brokering an agreement between government authorities and Parliament. Earlier this year, both bodies clashed on constitutional reforms that would limit presidential power. After four months of negotiation, Obando y Bravo convinced both parties to soften their stands; an accord was signed July 4.

According to La Prensa, the Liberal front, which thus far appears to be the front runner in the presidential campaign, has divided in three factions, all of which are seeking the intervention of the cardinal to avoid violent confrontation and further divisions. Meanwhile, in the opposing camp, one sector of the Sandinistas - now divided between the "orthodox" and the "reformers" is reportedly also in contact with the cardinal and for the same reasons. In late July, when the reformers, led by former Vice-President Sergio Ramirez, organized a political meeting in a town near Managua, Sandinista hard liners provoked a bull stampede, injuring more than 20.

In a recent interview with foreign journalists, Obando y Bravo said, "There is no secret formula" for his success as mediator. "There is always an open door to my house and a place at my table for anyone who seriously believes in reconciliation," he said. "I also relay very much of the credibility of the Catholic Church in Nicaragua, which is not a merit of mine, but of the Catholic community and of the consistency of the message we carry," he concluded.

[Augustinians of the Assumption Assumption Communications

101 Barry Road, Worcester, MA 01609-1178 USA]

Lima Bureau

(Alejandro Bermudez), August 3, 1995.